SELECT A WORD TO VIEW THE COMPLETE DEFINITION:
n. slang for District Attorney.
n. short for "doing business as," when a person or entity uses a business name instead of his/her/its own. All states have requirements for filing a certificate of "doing business under a fictitious name" either with the County Clerk, the state Secretary of State or some other official to inform the...
n. short for driving under the influence of alcohol.
n. 1) short for driving while intoxicated. 2) abbreviation for dying without issue (children).
n. the amount of money which a plaintiff (the person suing) may be awarded in a lawsuit. There are many types of damages. Special damages are those which actually were caused by the injury and include medical and hospital bills, ambulance charges, loss of wages, property repair or replacement costs ...
adj. unsafe, hazardous, fraught with risk. It can be negligence for which a lawsuit can be brought if damage results from creating or leaving unguarded a dangerous condition which can cause harm to others, a dangerous instrumentality (any device which can cause harm, including explosives and poisono...
n. any gun, knife, sword, crossbow, slingshot or other weapon which can cause bodily harm to people (even though used for target shooting). If a person is harmed by such a weapon that is left unguarded, improperly used, or causes harm even to a person who plays with it without permission, the victim...
n. forcible sexual intercourse by a male acquaintance of a woman, during a voluntary social engagement in which the woman did not intend to submit to the sexual advances and resisted the acts by verbal refusals, denials or pleas to stop, and/or physical resistance. The fact that the parties knew eac...
day in court
n. popular term for everyone's opportunity to bring a lawsuit or use the court system if he/she thinks he/she has a gripe which can be resolved in court. Example: "John finally got his day in court to protest his speeding ticket."
adj. Latin for "in fact." Often used in place of "actual" to show that the court will treat as a fact authority being exercised or an entity acting as if it had authority, even though the legal requirements have not been met.
de facto corporation
n. a company which operates as if it were a corporation although it has not completed the legal steps to become incorporated (has not filed its articles, for example) or has been dissolved or suspended but continues to function. The court temporarily treats the corporation as if it were legal in ord...
adj. Latin for "lawful," as distinguished from de facto (actual).
de jure corporation
n. a corporation in good standing under the law, as compared to a de facto corporation which is acting while not fulfilling legal requirements.
adj. (dee-minnie-miss) Latin for "of minimum importance" or "trifling." Essentially it refers to something or a difference that is so little, small, minuscule or tiny that the law does not refer to it and will not consider it. In a million dollar deal, a $10 mistake is de minimis.
adj. Latin for "anew," which means starting over, as in a trial de novo. For example, a decision in a small claims case may be appealed to a local trial court, which may try the case again, de novo.
n. any weapon which can kill. This includes not only weapons which are intended to do harm like a gun or knife, but also blunt instruments like clubs, baseball bats, monkey wrenches, an automobile or any object which actually causes death. This becomes important when trying to prove criminal charges...
n. anyone who buys goods or property for the purpose of selling as a business. It is important to distinguish a dealer from someone who occasionally buys and occasionally sells, since dealers may need to obtain business licenses, register with the sales tax authorities, and may not defer capital gai...
n. the sentence of execution for murder and some other capital crimes.
n. nickname for that portion of a prison in which prisoners are housed who are under death sentences and are awaiting appeals and/or potential execution.
n. a form of bond certificate issued by a corporation to show funds invested, repayment of which is guaranteed by the overall capital value of the company under certain specific terms. Thus, it is more secure than shares of stock or general bonds.
n. 1) a sum of money due to another. 2) obligation to deliver particular goods or perform certain acts according to an agreement, such as returning a favor. 3) a cause of action in a lawsuit for a particular amount owed.
n. 1) a person or entity that owes an amount of money or favor to another. 2) in bankruptcy, the party whose affairs are the subject of the proceedings is called the "debtor."
debtor in possession
n. in bankruptcy proceedings when a debtor has filed for the right to submit a plan for reorganization or refinancing under Chapter 11, and the debtor is allowed to continue to manage his/her/its business without an appointed trustee, that debtor is called a "debtor in possession."
1) adj. dead. 2) n. the person who has died, as used in the handling of his/her estate, probate of will and other proceedings after death, or in reference to the victim of a homicide (as: "The deceased had been shot three times.") In probate law the more genteel word is the "decedent."
n. the person who has died, sometimes referred to as the "deceased."
n. dishonesty, fraudulent conduct, false statements made knowing them to be untrue, by which the liar intends to deceive a party receiving the statements and expects the party to believe and rely on them. This is a civil wrong (tort) giving rise to the right of a person to sue the deceiver if he/she...
n. the act of misleading another through intentionally false statements or fraudulent actions.
v. for a judge, arbitrator, court of appeals or other magistrate or tribunal to reach a determination (decision) by choosing what is right and wrong according to the law as he/she sees it.
n. judgment, decree or determination of findings of fact and/or of law by a judge, arbitrator, court, governmental agency or other official tribunal (court).
n. the person making a statement, usually written and signed by that person, under "penalty of perjury" pursuant to the laws of the state in which the statement, called a declaration, is made. The declaration is more commonly used than the affidavit, which is similar to a declaration but requires ta...
n. 1) any statement made, particularly in writing. 2) a written statement made "under penalty of perjury" and signed by the declarant, which is the modern substitute for the more cumbersome affidavit, which requires swearing to its truth before a notary public.
declaration of mailing
n. a form stating that a particular document has been mailed to a particular person or persons (such as opposing attorneys or the clerk of the court) and declaring the truth of that fact "under penalty of perjury," and signed by the person in the law office responsible for mailing it. This is almost...
declaration of trust
n. the document signed by a trustor (settlor) creating a trust into which assets are placed, a trustee is appointed to manage the trust (who may be the party who created the trust), the powers and duties of management of the principal and profits of the trust are stated, and distribution of profits ...
n. a judgment of a court which determines the rights of parties without ordering anything be done or awarding damages. While this borders on the prohibited "advisory opinion," it is allowed to nip controversies in the bud. Examples: a party to a contract may seek the legal interpretation of a contra...
n. a judge's determination (called a "declaratory judgment") of the parties' rights under a contract or a statute often requested (prayed for) in a lawsuit over a contract. The theory is that an early resolution of legal rights will resolve some or all of the other issues in the matter.
n. in general, synonymous with judgment. However, in some areas of the law, the term decree is either more common or preferred as in probates of estates, domestic relations (divorce), admiralty law and in equity (court rulings ordering or prohibiting certain acts). Thus, there may be references to a...
n. the repeal or amendment of statutes which made certain acts criminal, so that those acts no longer are crimes subject to prosecution. Many states have decriminalized certain sexual practices between consenting adults, "loitering" (hanging out without any criminal activity), or outmoded racist law...
n. the giving of land by a private person or entity to the government, typically for a street, park or school site, as part of and a condition of a real estate development. The local county or city (or other public body) must accept the dedication before it is complete. In many cases there are "dedi...
n. an expenditure which an income tax payer may subtract from gross (total) income to determine taxable income. This is not the same as an exemption, which is for one's marital status, age over 65, blindness and number of dependents (e.g. children), which, added together, reduce the tax owed.
1) n. the written document which transfers title (ownership) or an interest in real property to another person. The deed must describe the real property, name the party transferring the property (grantor), the party receiving the property (grantee) and be signed by the grantor, who must then acknowl...
deed of trust
n. a document which pledges real property to secure a loan, used instead of a mortgage in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, North Carolina, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia. The property is deeded by the title holder (trustor) to a trus...
v. from Latin for "deduction," withholding or misappropriating funds held for another, particularly by a public official, or failing to make a proper accounting.
n. the act of making untrue statements about another which damages his/her reputation. If the defamatory statement is printed or broadcast over the media it is libel and, if only oral, it is slander. Public figures, including officeholders and candidates, have to show that the defamation was made wi...
1) n. failure to respond to a summons and complaint served on a party in the time required by law. If a legal answer or other response is not filed, the suing party (plaintiff) can request a default be entered in the record, which terminates the rights of the defaulting party to defend the case. Und...
n. if a defendant in a lawsuit fails to respond to a complaint in the time set by law (commonly 20 or 30 days), then the plaintiff (suer) can request that the default (failure) be entered into the court record by the clerk, which gives the plaintiff the right to get a default judgment. If the compla...
n. an antiquated word for a document which terminates the effect of an existing writing such as a deed, bond or contract if some event occurs.
n. an imperfection, quite often so great that the machinery or written document cannot be used. A car that will not run or has faulty brakes has a defect, and so does a deed in which a party who signed the deed to give over property did not have title to the property described. There are also minor ...
adj. not being capable of fulfilling its function, ranging from a deed of land to a piece of equipment.
n. an apparent title to real property which fails because a claimed prior holder of the title did not have title, or there is a faulty description of the property or some other "cloud" over it, which may or may not be apparent from reading the deed.
n. 1) the party sued in a civil lawsuit or the party charged with a crime in a criminal prosecution. In some types of cases (such as divorce) a defendant may be called a respondent.
n. 1) a general term for the effort of an attorney representing a defendant during trial and in pre-trial maneuvers to defeat the party suing or the prosecution in a criminal case. 2) a response to a complaint, called an affirmative defense, to counter, defeat or remove all or a part of the contenti...
n. 1) the attorney representing the defendant in a lawsuit or criminal prosecution. 2) a lawyer who regularly represents defendants who have insurance and who is chosen by the insurance company. 3) a lawyer who regularly represents criminal defendants. Attorneys who regularly represent clients in ac...
n. a judgment for an amount not covered by the value of security put up for a loan or installment payments. In most states the party owed money can only get a deficiency judgment if he/she chooses to file a suit for judicial foreclosure instead of just foreclosing on real property. However, some sta...
n. a shortage, less than is due, or in the case of a business or government budget, more expenditures than income. Unbalanced budgets with a planned year-end deficit are prohibited at every level of government except the federal.
v. to use deceit, falsehoods or trickery to obtain money, an object, rights or anything of value belonging to another.
degree of kinship
n. the level of relationship between two persons related by blood, such as parent to child, one sibling to another, grandparent to grandchild or uncle to nephew, first cousins, etc., calculated as one degree for each step from a common ancestor. This may become important when determining the heirs o...
n. an exchange of property to put off capital gain taxes, in which the funds are placed in a binding trust for up to 180 days while the seller acquires an "exchanged" (another similar) property, pursuant to IRS Code sec. 1031. It is sometimes called a "Starker" after the man who first used this meth...
1) v. to assign authority to another. 2) n. a person chosen to attend a convention, conference or meeting on behalf of an organization, constituency, interest group or business.
1) adj. (dee-lib-er-et) done with care and intention or premeditated. 2) v. (dee-lib-er-ate) to consider the facts, the laws and/or other matters, particularly by members of a jury, a panel of judges or by any group including a legislature.
n. the act of considering, discussing and, hopefully, reaching a conclusion, such as a jury's discussions, voting and decision-making.
1) adj. not paid in full amount or on time. 2) n. short for an underage violator of the law as in juvenile delinquent.
v. to actually hand an object, money or document to another.
n. the actual handing to another of an object, money or document (such as a deed) to complete a transaction. The delivery of a deed transfers title (provided it is then recorded), and the delivery of goods makes a sale complete and final if payment has been made. Symbolic or constructive delivery (d...
1) v. to claim as a need, requirement or entitlement, as in to demand payment or performance under a contract. In a lawsuit for payment of a debt or performance of an act, the party suing (plaintiff) should allege that he/she/it demanded payment or performance. 2) n. a claim, such as an unqualified ...
n. a promissory note which is payable any time the holder of the note makes a request. This is different from a note due at a specific time, upon occurrence of an event, or by installments.
1) v. an old-fashioned expression meaning to lease or transfer (convey) real property for years or life, but not beyond that. 2) n. the deed that conveys real property only for years or life. 3) n. death. 4) n. failure.
n. actual objects, pictures, models and other devices which are supposedly intended to clarify the facts for the judge and jury: how an accident occurred, actual damages, medical problems, or methods used in committing an alleged crime. Many of these are not supposed to be actual evidence, but "aids...
n. (dee-muhr-ur) a written response to a complaint filed in a lawsuit which, in effect, pleads for dismissal on the point that even if the facts alleged in the complaint were true, there is no legal basis for a lawsuit. A hearing before a judge (on the law and motion calendar) will then be held to d...
n. a statement in the defendant's answer to a complaint in a lawsuit that an allegation (claim of fact) is not true. If a defendant denies all allegations it is called a general denial. In answering, the defendant is limited to admitting, denying or denying on the basis he/she/it has no information ...
1) n. a person receiving support from another person (such as a parent), which may qualify the party supporting the dependent for an exemption to reduce his/her income taxes. 2) adj. requiring an event to occur, as the fulfillment of a contract is dependent on the expert being available.
n. when a natural resource (particularly oil) is being used up. The annual amount of depletion may, ironically, provide a tax deduction for the company exploiting the resource because if the resource they are exploiting runs out, they will no longer be able to make money from it.
n. a person testifying (stating answers in response to questions) at a deposition.
n. the act of expelling a foreigner from a country, usually because he/she has a criminal record, committed a crime, lied on his/her entry documents, is in the country illegally or his/her presence is deemed by the Immigration and Naturalization Service, FBI or State Department officials to be again...
v. 1) to ask questions of a witness or a party to a lawsuit at a deposition (testimony outside of the courtroom before trial). 2) to testify at a deposition.
n. the taking and recording of testimony of a witness under oath before a court reporter in a place away from the courtroom before trial. A deposition is part of permitted pre-trial discovery (investigation), set up by an attorney for one of the parties to a lawsuit demanding the sworn testimony of ...
v. in accounting, to reduce the value of an asset each year theoretically on the basis that the assets (such as equipment, vehicles or structures) will eventually become obsolete, worn out and of little value.
n. the actual or theoretical gradual loss of value of an asset (particularly business equipment or buildings) through increasing age, natural wear and tear, or deterioration, even though the item may retain or even increase its replacement value due to inflation. Depreciation may be used as a busine...
n. a business fund in which the probable replacement cost of equipment is accumulated each year over the life of the asset, so it can be replaced readily when it becomes obsolete and totally depreciated.
n. something or someone who is abandoned, such as a ship left to drift at sea or a homeless person ignored by family and society.
n. 1) abandoning possession, which is sometimes used in the phrase "dereliction of duty." It includes abandoning a ship, which then becomes a "derelict" which salvagers can board. 2) an old expression for increase of land due to gradual lowering of a tide line (which means the land is building up).
n. a lawsuit brought by a corporation shareholder against the directors, management and/or other shareholders of the corporation, for a failure by management. In effect, the suing shareholder claims to be acting on behalf of the corporation, because the directors and management are failing to exerci...
n. the rules of inheritance established by law in cases in which there is no will naming the persons to receive the possessions of a person who has died. The rules of descent vary somewhat from state to state and will usually be governed by the law of the state in which the deceased party lived. Dep...
descent and distribution
n. the system of laws which determine who will inherit and divide the possessions of a person who has died without a will (intestate).
v. to intentionally abandon a person or thing.
n. the act of abandoning, particularly leaving one's spouse and/or children without an intent to return. In desertion cases it is often expected that a deserter who is the family breadwinner may not intend to support the family he/she left. Such conduct is less significant legally in the present era...
adj. defining something which may be terminated upon the occurrence of a particular event, used primarily to describe an interest in real property, such as a fee simple determinable, in which property is deeded to another, but may revert to the giver or go to a third person if, as examples, the rece...
n. slang term for a drunk driving conviction. The term originated in California, where the offense was once governed by Section 502 of the California Vehicle Code.
1) v. an old-fashioned word for giving real property by a will, as distinguished from words for giving personal property. 2) n. the gift of real property by will.
n. a person who receives a gift of real property by a will. The distinction between gifts of real property and personal property is actually blurred, so terms like beneficiary or legatee cover those receiving any gift by a will.
n. 1) the transfer of title to real property by the automatic operation of law. 2) n. the transfer of rights, powers or an office (public or private) from one person or government to another.
v. when property is automatically transferred from one party to another by operation of law, without any act required of either past or present owner. The most common example is passing of title to the natural heir of a person upon his/her death. 2) passing of authority to a vice president on the de...
n. the plural of dictum.
n. Latin for "remark," a comment by a judge in a decision or ruling which is not required to reach the decision, but may state a related legal principle as the judge understands it. While it may be cited in legal argument, it does not have the full force of a precedent (previous court decisions or i...
n. reasonable care or attention to a matter, which is good enough to avoid a claim of negligence, or is a fair attempt (as in due diligence in a process server's attempt to locate someone).
n. essentially a psychological term which has found its way into criminal trials. A contention of diminished capacity means that although the accused was not insane, due to emotional distress, physical condition or other factors he/she could not fully comprehend the nature of the criminal act he/she...
diminution in value
n. in the event of a breach of contract, the decrease in value of property due to the failure to construct something exactly as specified in the contract.
direct and proximate cause
n. the immediate reason damage was caused by an act or omission (negligence); the negligence must have caused the damages, without intervention of another party, and can- not be remote in time or place. Example (in a complaint): "Defendant's negligent acts (speeding and losing control of his vehicle...
n. real, tangible or clear evidence of a fact, happening or thing that requires no thinking or consideration to prove its existence, as compared to circumstantial evidence.
n. the first questioning of a witness during a trial or deposition (testimony out of court), as distinguished from cross-examination by opposing attorneys and redirect examination when the witness is again questioned by the original attorney.
n. a verdict by a jury based on the specific direction by a trial judge that they must bring in that verdict because one of the parties has not proved his/her/its case as a matter of law (failed to present credible testimony on some key element of the claim or of the defense). A judge in a criminal ...
n. a member of the governing board of a corporation or association elected or re-elected at annual meetings of the shareholders or members. As a group the directors are responsible for the policy making, but not day-to-day operation, which is handled by officers and other managers. In some cases, a ...
n. 1) a condition which prevents one from performing all usual physical or mental functions. This usually means a permanent state, like blindness, but in some cases is temporary. In recent times society and the law have dictated that people with disabilities should be accommodated and encouraged to ...
v. to remove an attorney from the list of practicing attorneys for improper conduct. This penalty is usually invoked by the State Bar Association (if so empowered) or the highest state court, and will automatically prohibit the attorney from practicing law before the courts in that state or from giv...
n. the ultimate discipline of an attorney, which is taking away his/her license to practice law, often for life. Disbarment only comes after investigation and opportunities for the attorney to explain his/her improper conduct. Sometimes an attorney may be reinstated upon a showing of rehabilitation ...
v. 1) to perform one's duties. 2) to dismiss someone from a job. 3) to pay one's debts or obligations. 4) in bankruptcy, to issue an order of the court that all debts (with certain statutory exceptions) are forgiven and need not be paid.
discharge in bankruptcy
n. an order given by the bankruptcy judge, at the conclusion of all legal steps in processing a bankrupt person's assets and debts, which forgives those remaining debts which cannot be paid, with certain exceptions. Debts for fraudulent or illegal actions, alimony and child support and taxes are not...
n. 1) denial or renunciation by someone of his/her title to property. 2) denial of responsibility for another's claim, such as an insurance company's refusal to admit coverage under an insurance policy. 3) statement of non-responsibility, as is made when dissolving a partnership or business.
n. the payment of less than the full amount due on a promissory note or price for goods or services. Usually a discount is by agreement and includes the common situation in which a holder of a long-term promissory note or material goods will sell it/them for less than face value in order to get cash...
n. the entire efforts of a party to a lawsuit and his/her/its attorneys to obtain information before trial through demands for production of documents, depositions of parties and potential witnesses, written interrogatories (questions and answers written under oath), written requests for admissions ...
n. the power of a judge, public official or a private party (under authority given by contract, trust or will) to make decisions on various matters based on his/her opinion within general legal guidelines. Examples: a) a judge may have discretion as to the amount of a fine or whether to grant a cont...
n. unequal treatment of persons, for a reason which has nothing to do with legal rights or ability. Federal and state laws prohibit discrimination in employment, availability of housing, rates of pay, right to promotion, educational opportunity, civil rights, and use of facilities based on race, nat...
v. to cause permanent change in a person's body, particularly by leaving visible scars which affect a person's appearance. In lawsuits or claims due to injuries caused by another's negligence or intentional actions, such scarring can add considerably to general damages.
v. to refuse to pay the face amount of a check or the amount due on a promissory note.
v. to intentionally take actions to guarantee that a person who would normally inherit upon a party's death (wife, child or closest relative) would get nothing. Usually this is done by a provision in a will or codicil (amendment) to a will which states that a specific person is not to take anything ...
n. the act of disinheriting.
n. the attempt to claim in a civil lawsuit that one thing "or" another occurred, and in criminal charges that the accused committed one crime "or" another. Such complaints are disallowed because the defendant is entitled to know what he/she must defend.
v. the ruling by a judge that all or a portion (one or more of the causes of action) of the plaintiff's lawsuit is terminated (thrown out) at that point without further evidence or testimony. This judgment may be made before, during or at the end of a trial, when the judge becomes convinced that the...
n. 1) the act of voluntarily terminating a criminal prosecution or a lawsuit or one of its causes of action by one of the parties. 2) a judge's ruling that a lawsuit or criminal charge is terminated. 3) an appeals court's act of dismissing an appeal, letting the lower court decision stand. 4) the ac...
n. 1) actions that disturb others. 2) minor criminal offenses, such as public drunkenness, loitering, disturbing the peace, and loud threats or parties.
n. 1) polite term for house of prostitution. 2) place of illegal gambling.
disposing mind and memory
n. the mental ability to understand in general what one possesses and the persons who are the "natural objects of bounty" (wife and/or children), at the time of making a will.
n. the court's final determination of a lawsuit or criminal charge.
v. to eject someone from real property, either legally or by self-help.
n. 1) the opinion of a judge of a court of appeals, including the U.S. Supreme Court, which disagrees with the majority opinion. Sometimes a dissent may eventually prevail as the law or society evolves. Prime examples include the many dissenting opinions of Oliver Wendell Holmes, Associate Justice o...
n. modern, gentler sounding, term for divorce, officially used in California since 1970 and symbolic of the no-fault, non-confrontational approach to dissolving a marriage.
dissolution of corporation
n. termination of a corporation, either a) voluntarily by resolution, paying debts, distributing assets and filing dissolution documents with the Secretary of State; or b) by state suspension for not paying corporate taxes or some other action of the government.
v. to argue that the rule in one appeals court decision does not apply to a particular case although there is an apparent similarity (i.e. it is "distinguished").
1) n. the self-help taking of another's possessions in order to force payment of a claim, which is generally illegal without a court order. 2) adj. at lowest price due to negative circumstances.
v. 1) the dividing up of those assets of an estate or trust when someone has died according to the terms of the deceased's will or trust, or in absence of a will, according to the laws of descent and distribution. 2) division of profits or assets of a corporation or business.
n. the act of dividing up the assets of an estate or trust, or paying out profits or assets of a corporation or business according to the ownership percentages.
District Attorney (D.A.)
n. an elected official of a county or a designated district with the responsibility for prosecuting crimes. The duties include managing the prosecutor's office, investigating alleged crimes in cooperation with law enforcement, and filing criminal charges or bringing evidence before the Grand Jury th...
n. 1) in the federal court system, a trial court for federal cases in a court district, which is all or a portion of a state. 2) a local court in some states.
disturbing the peace
n. upsetting the quiet and good order particularly through loud noise, by fighting or other unsocial behavior which frightens or upsets people. It is a misdemeanor, punishable by fine or brief term in jail.
n. in criminal procedure, a system for giving a chance for a first- time criminal defendant in lesser crimes to perform community service, make restitution for damage due to the crime, obtain treatment for alcohol or drug problems and/or counselling for antisocial or mentally unstable conduct. If th...
diversity of citizenship
n. when opposing parties in a lawsuit are citizens of different states (including corporations incorporated or doing business in different states) or a citizen of a foreign country, which places the case under federal court jurisdiction, pursuant to Article III, section 2 of the U.S. Constitution, a...
n. the court-ordered or voluntary giving up of a possession or right, which is a common result in an antitrust action to prevent monopoly or other restraint of trade.
n. the act of stripping one's investment from an entity.
n. a portion of profit, usually based on the number of shares of stock in a corporation and the rate of distribution approved by the board of directors or management, that is paid to shareholders for each share they own. Dividends are not always paid in money, but can be paid in shares of stock, kno...
1) n. the termination of a marriage by legal action, requiring a petition or complaint for divorce (or dissolution in some states, including California) by one party. Some states still require at least a minimal showing of fault, but no-fault divorce is now the rule in which "incompatibility" is suf...
n. scientifically, deoxyribonucleic acid, a chromosomal double chain (the famous "double helix") in the nucleus of each living cell, the combination of which determines each individual's hereditary characteristics. In law, the importance is the discovery that each person's DNA is different and is fo...
1) n. the cases on a court calendar. 2) n. brief notes, usually written by the court clerk, stating what action was taken that day in court. 3) v. to write down the name of a case to be put on calendar or make notes on action in court.
n. a popular generic word among lawyers for any paper with writing on it. Technically it could include a piece of wood with a will or message scratched on it.
n. any document (paper) which is presented and allowed as evidence in a trial or hearing, as distinguished from oral testimony. However, the opposing attorney may object to its being admitted. In the first place, it must be proved by other evidence from a witness that the paper is genuine (called "l...
v. carrying on the normal activities of a corporation on a regular basis or with substantial contacts-not just an occasional shipment. This is important to determine if an out-of-state corporation is "doing business" in a state so that it can be served with a complaint, is subject to certain state t...
n. unmarried couples, including homosexuals, living together in long-standing relationships, who may be entitled to some of the same benefits as married people, such as job-related health plans.
n. a polite term for the legal field of divorce, dissolution, annulment, child custody, child support and alimony.
n. the continuing crime and problem of the physical beating of a wife, girlfriend or children, usually by the woman's male partner (although it can also be female violence against a male). It is now recognized as an antisocial mental illness. Sometimes a woman's dependence, low self-esteem and fear ...
n. the place where a person has his/her permanent principal home to which he/she returns or intends to return. This becomes significant in determining in what state a probate of a dead person's estate is filed, what state can assess income or inheritance taxes, where a party can begin divorce procee...
n. in real estate law, the property retained when the owner splits off and conveys part of the property to another party but retains some rights such as an easement for access (a driveway) or utilities. The property sold off upon which there is the easement is called the servient estate. These are a...
n. gift. If made to a qualified non-profit charitable, religious, educational or public service organization, it may be deductible as a contribution in calculating income tax.
n. conscious desire to make a gift, as distinguished from giving something for nothing by mistake or under pressure.
n. a person or entity receiving an outright gift or donation.
n. a person or entity making a gift or donation.
n. placing someone on trial a second time for an offense for which he/she has been previously acquitted, even when new incriminating evidence has been unearthed. This is specifically prohibited by the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which states: "…nor shall any person be subject for the s...
n. taxation of the same property for the same purpose twice in one year. This is generally prohibited if it occurs through such circumstances as transfer of property which has been taxed once and then the tax is imposed on a new owner. However, if all property in a jurisdiction is taxed twice in the...
n. an old English common law right of a widow to one-third of her late husband's estate, which is still the law in a few states. In those states the surviving wife can choose either the dower rights or, if more generous, accept the terms of her husband's will in what is called a widow's election. In...
n. from the days when a groom expected to profit from a marriage, the money and personal property which a bride brings to her new husband which becomes his alone. Dowry still exists in the Civil Code of Louisiana.
1) n. a bill of exchange or check in which one party (including a bank) is directed by the party drafting (writing) the bill or check to take money from the drafter's (writer's) bank account and pay it to another person or entity. 2) v. to prepare and sign a bill of exchange or check. 3) n. a less t...
dram shop rule
n. a statute (Dram Shop Act) or case law in 38 states which makes a business which sells alcoholic drinks or a host who serves liquor to a drinker who is obviously intoxicated or close to it, strictly liable to anyone injured by the drunken patron or guest. To the contrary, California recently passe...
v. 1) to prepare any document. 2) specifically to have prepared and signed a bill of exchange or check.
n. the party who is to be paid on a bill of exchange or check.
n. the person who signs a bill of exchange.
driving under the influence (DUI)
n. commonly called "drunk driving," it refers to operating a motor vehicle while one's blood alcohol content is above the legal limit set by statute, which supposedly is the level at which a person cannot drive safely. State statutes vary as to what that level is, but it ranges from .08 to .10 for a...
drop dead date
n. a provision in a contract or a court order which sets the last date an event must take place (such as payment) or otherwise certain consequences will automatically follow, such as cancelling the contract, taking property or entering a judgment.
n. and adj. owed as of a specific date. A popular legal redundancy is that a debt is "due, owing and unpaid." Unpaid does not necessarily mean that a debt is due.
n. the conduct that a reasonable man or woman will exercise in a particular situation, in looking out for the safety of others. If one uses due care then an injured party cannot prove negligence. This is one of those nebulous standards by which negligence is tested. Each juror has to determine what ...
due process of law
n. a fundamental principle of fairness in all legal matters, both civil and criminal, especially in the courts. All legal procedures set by statute and court practice, including notice of rights, must be followed for each individual so that no prejudicial or unequal treatment will result. While some...
n. the use of force, false imprisonment or threats (and possibly psychological torture or "brainwashing") to compel someone to act contrary to his/her wishes or interests. If duress is used to get someone to sign an agreement or execute a will, a court may find the document null and void. A defendan...
n. 1) a legal obligation, the breach of which can result in liability. In a lawsuit a plaintiff must claim and prove that there was a duty by defendant to plaintiff. This can be a duty of care in a negligence case or a duty to perform in a contract case. 2) a tax on imports.
duty of care
n. a requirement that a person act toward others and the public with the watchfulness, attention, caution and prudence that a reasonable person in the circumstances would use. If a person's actions do not meet this standard of care, then the acts are considered negligent, and any damages resulting m...
n. the statement of a mortally injured person who is aware he/she is about to die, telling who caused the injury and possibly the circumstances ("Frankie shot me"). Although hearsay since the dead person cannot testify in person, it is admissible on the theory that a dying person has no reason not t...